LUCID DREAM - The Great Dance Of The Spirit

Lucid Dream - The Great Dance Of The Spirit

12 songs
57:43 minutes
***** *


I really liked how Italian hard rock band Lucid Dream managed to combine hints of Seventies proto prog metal ŗ la Rush with the more festive side of early Eighties hard rock on their previous albums, and therefore was looking forward to their fourth album The Great Dance Of The Spirit, coming four years after its predecessor. Itís got a grand concept about traveling to the borders of the universe, but if you were expecting a suspenseful science fiction story, you might be disappointed because it turns out to have a much more spiritual bent. Anyway, I tried to look past this, even though I am not a person into spiritual journey, instead rather preferring the here and now.

The new album contains twelve tracks and is nearly one hour long, and the first half is quite appealing, even though the Seventies influences have made way for a stronger Eighties touch, mostly due to the excellent guitar work of band leader Simone Terigi who must have listened a lot to Eddie Van Halen. The opener Wall Of Fire still delivers what you might expect from Lucid Dream, and the following Desert Glass too, even though it comes with a somewhat hair metal chorus, but that is where Lucid Dream are currently at. Then I was in for the first shock. By My Side is a downright hard rock ballad as one would expect from Bon Jovi, and is just to saccharine for my tastes. It features a nice enough guitar solo that somehow saves this songís latter half. Moving Sands is a half-minute interlude with acoustic guitar and cello, not adding much to the album. The following two tracks, A Dress Of Light and The War Of The Cosmos, take the band back into more hard rocking territory, the former sounding actually rather progressive, with some rhythmic parallels to Dream Theater, while the latterís minute long fade-out feels rather lazy.

The first half of the album is worth seven points, and the second half even doesnít start so bad with the instrumental The Realm Of Beyond which features a violin, a viola and a cello. Of course, being in the presence of Italian musicians, one feels reminded a little of Rondo Veneziano, but itís fun enough, except again for a lazy fade-out ending. And then the album all of a sudden loses momentum for its remaining twenty minutes. Golden Silence is yet another ballad that might appeal to fans of Bon Jovi, but certainly not to me, although the violin or viola solo is rather cool. The acoustic reprise of the opener Wall Of Fire just rehashes its chorus on acoustic guitar. Prayer For The Great Spirit is a nearly two-minute long prayer which right after my first time through was always skipped. Invisible Stranger is a short acoustic ballad performed on acoustic guitar and cello, before the album ends with Wakan Tanka, where the title is repeated endlessly during its five-minute running time, making it sound like the soundtrack for an esoteric wellness centre.

I understand that Simone Terigi wanted to create a very intimate and personal record. I also understand that such a record needs heavy rocking songs and mellow ballads. In the end, the balance is way off, unfortunately. While the first half might still appeal to those who enjoyed the bandís previous albums, the second half has just too little substance. I remain with six points, with the strong hope that the mixed reception the album seems to have gotten will inspire Lucid Dream back to a meatier sound the next time around.

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